Often we hear companies provide vague descriptions about the demographics that they want to target (read: “men who make somewhere between $x and $x” or “all homeowners”) but, as all marketers know, you can never underestimate the value of detail.
Although the product (or service) may appeal to a wide range of people, separating the greater audience into smaller groups with similar lifestyles (AKA personas) is beneficial for many reasons. In this article, I’ll explain how personas can help you:
- Define your audience.
- Understand your audience’s priorities.
- Target your audience with the best creative possible.
Defining Your Audience
Putting together a persona allows you to better visualize the intricate details that define your consumers’ lives. In addition to defining the basic demographics, putting together personas requires you to think critically about who your audience is and what they like to do. It’s helpful to think critically about each of the personas you create in order to determine what affiliations they might be involved in and what interests they might have. The exercise of creating personas allows for a much deeper understanding of your audience.
Demographic settings aside, understanding these elements also helps you to think critically about how each different persona uses the internet, where they get their information and what sites they might visit. Use the information you gather from a personas exercise to determine what channels to target as well as the types of targeting to take advantage of for each of those channels.
Understand Your Demographic’s Priorities
We all have different goals and motives based upon the different factors that shape our lives. Creating personas allows you to make some educated assumtpions about how your consumers’ lifestyles impact their values, priorities and needs. For instance, a parent is likely to be motivated by a message that acknowledges her child’s future or wellbeing, which wouldn’t be applicable for someone without kids.
Being aware of these details helps you to segment audiences in a way that will be allow you to be most impactful with your ads, which brings us to my next point.
Craft the Perfect Creative
The better you understand your demographic, the better you understand what motivates them and, more specifically, how you can motivate them. Once you’ve segmented your campaigns by personas, you can tailor messaging to each specific demographic using value statements and call-to-actions that coincide with the things that are important to them. For example, people have different monetary goals throughout different stages of life. A credit card company might target college students using messaging such as, “Get cash back for Spring Break!”, which probably wouldn’t resound well with baby boomers.
Personas are especially helpful when setting up campaigns within Facebook (and even Linkedin and Twitter, to some degree) because of the robust and specific targeting options that are available. Still, personas (and especially the thought process behind them) can be successfully applied to campaigns on networks with less demographic settings, such as the Google display network.